The first portrait disc dedicated to the music of Francisco Coll – featuring Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, and Gustavo Gimeno – has been released by Pentatone to five-star reviews from both The Guardian and Diapason.
The disc features studio recordings of works spanning around 15 years, from Coll’s recent Violin Concerto for Patricia Kopatchinskaja (2019) back to his newly revised opus 1, Aqua Cinerea. Also featured are the large-scale Mural (2016), Hidd’n Blue (2009/11), and the Four Iberian Miniatures for violin and chamber orchestra (2014). This release is a testament to the extraordinary support of the OPL, who commissioned two of the works featured, the vision of Gustavo Gimeno – one of Coll’s greatest advocates – and the remarkable creative rapport between Coll and Kopatchinskaja.
“Energetic musical arguments with an erratic trajectory, subtle orchestration favouring bright lights, carefully calibrated harmonies… the influence of Adès in Coll’s Violin Concerto never conceals an alert musical personality that one can sense from start to finish… Aqua Cinerea impresses further: what a phenomenal talent for a 19-year old! … Mural succeeds in summoning a restless expressionism, capricious rhythmic counterpoints, string textures with a post-romantic flavour… While the Four Iberian Miniatures could have ended up as amiable, folksy pastiche, in fact the castanets and modal formulas escape mere local colour, jostled by walking bass lines and a polyrhythmic delirium à la Nancarrow… This meeting of Kopatchinskaja – who leads the dance and seems to invent her path at each instant, a composer who plays with fire but doesn’t singe his wings, and Gimeno’s white-hot orchestra, is highly exciting.”
Diapason (Pierre Rigaudière), Summer 2021
“A hugely impressive development, taking the flair for vivid orchestral colouring and stark, sometimes shocking juxtapositions of imagery that was evident from the start in ever more distinctive and personal directions, while never forgetting the debt his music owes to tradition, whether modernist or more specifically Spanish… The nervy, unstable rhythms of Hidd’n Blue largely continue where Aqua Cinerea left off. But Mural is much more substantial, almost symphonic attempt to reconcile past and present, to build something fresh from the rubble of musical history, while the Four Iberian Miniatures lovingly and wittily adopt the rhythms and rawness of Spanish dance… The Violin Concerto is the fourth work that Coll has composed specifically for Kopatchinskaja since they were introduced by the conductor Gustavo Gimeno five years ago… [her] extraordinary, freewheeling virtuosity appears to have unlocked a new vein of immediacy and expressiveness in Coll’s music, which the Concerto seems to me to take on to another plane altogether. It’s a fabulously assured piece in three evocatively labelled movements – Atomised, Hyperhymnia, Phase – which outline the shape of a traditional concerto, complete with solo cadenza. Ligeti’s violin concerto, and more specifically Kopatchinskaja’s dazzling performances of it, seem to lie behind the pyrotechnics of the first movement, while something more deeply personal is explored in the murmuring expressiveness of the second, before the music explodes again in the anarchy of the third. It’s compelling from first note to last, and could hardly be better played by Kopatchinskaja and the Luxembourg orchestra under Gimeno.”
The Guardian (Andrew Clements), 10 June 2021
“Coll’s Violin Concerto [is] a remarkable piece – big, freewheeling, bold and rhapsodic, orchestrated with kaleidoscopic flair, and with a compelling sense of organic growth. Kopatchinskaja rises to its technical challenges magnificently – from the first movement’s spiralling figurations to its gruff, assertive cadenza – but is just as alive to its passages of eerie, almost numinous stillness. Coll tackles his own country’s folk music in the sarcastic but deeply sensual Four Iberian Miniatures, which play with layers upon layers of irony and detachment... Three powerful orchestral works – Hidd’n Blue, Mural and Aqua cinerea – get brilliant, vivid performances to complete a deeply rewarding disc.”
The Strad (David Kettle), 22 June 2021
The UK premiere of Coll’s Violin Concerto, with Kopatchinskaja joining the London Symphony Orchestra and François-Xavier Roth, was postponed earlier this month and will now happen in April 2022, when it will also receive its Canadian premiere with the Toronto Symphony.